-The Indian Express
The government on Tuesday informed the Lok Sabha about the expansion of the scope of activities permitted under the rural job guarantee scheme by including 30 new activities. These will supplement agricultural and animal husbandry operations along with flood management and sanitation-related works in rural India.
According to the copy of the government notification put before the Lok Sabha on Tuesday, the government has amended Schedule-I and Schedule-II of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee (MGNREG) Act, 2005. The amendment will provide for inclusion of vermi-composting, liquid bio-manures, creation of poultry and goat shelters, construction of pucca floors for cattle, development of public water bodies for fisheries, construction of fish drying yards and rehabilitation of minor, sub-minor and field channels for irrigation among the permissible activities to benefit the agriculture sector.
The amendments into the Schedule, which do not require the approval of Parliament, also include sanitation-related activities like construction of soak pits and recharge pits, individual household latrines, toilet units in schools and anganwadis as another set of permissible activities. The move is expected to supplement government’s Total Sanitation Campaign in rural areas.
In another major change, the government has empowered gram panchayats to set the priority of the works that should be undertaken in respective panchayats, by doing away with the existing criteria where the priority of works was fixed from the Centre. The decision was taken at the insistence of Nitish Kumar-led Bihar government’s suggestion that had highlighted the difficulty of the state government in undertaking flood management-related works as they fell way down the priority list fixed by the Centre.
“The order of priority shall be determined by each gram panchayat in meetings of the gram sabha and the ward sabha,” read the changes brought into the Schedule-I of the MGNREG Act.
NRHM complaints received from many states: Azad
Apart from Uttar Pradesh, the Union Health Ministry has received complaints about irregularities in the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) from Assam, Bihar, Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir, Orissa and Rajasthan. In reply to an unstarred question in the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday, Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said the complaints have been forwarded to state governments and they have been asked to take appropriate action and also submit a report.